Yo. Whaddup, Professor. What’s the down-low on that exam, yo? Straight whack. Holla back.
There is a distinct line between an appropriate email to a professor and a hot slang mess. To simplify things, always remember to FORK. Be formal. Address a professor with “Professor Blank” or “Dr. Blank”, accordingly. They spent many years to earn those titles, so respect them enough to use them. Use only important details. As a general template, tell them “I am contacting you regarding blank” and tell them what you are hoping to receive by emailing them (Do you have a class question? Are you following up on something they asked for? Do you need anything in return?). If at all possible, try to keep the body of the email to a paragraph or below. Use your real, full name and include the course they are instructing you in . I can only imagine how many Sarahs and Johns a given professor may have. To help you receive a response as quickly as possible, include the first and last name their class roster would recognize you by and what class/organization they are teaching you in. Be kind, and polite. Always express an attitude of professionalism but gratitude in your email. Don’t be too cool to say “Thank you”.
Beyond just emailing, another environment it is important to learn to communicate with professors in is office hours. I would recommend everyone goes to office hours at least a few times a semester (even if it is just to introduce yourself). It never hurts to display yourself to your instructor as someone who cares about their grade and is willing to reach out for help when needed. But how do you behave in this setting? Once again, professionalism but gratitude. Go into the office hours with at least some idea of what you need to know more about, and simply explain what you are having trouble grasping. If you generally have luck learning visually or in a hands-on manner as opposed to common lecture styles, ask if they have any resources that could help you learn the topic in that way. If other people are in the office hours and it is difficult to get individual attention, don’t be afraid to reach out over email and ask to meet with the professor outside of office hours– most professors will be happy to do this! I always take notes on what I learned either during or after I go in to office hours, just so that I can reflect back once more and grasp the information further.
Good Luck & Go Hawks!